\ˈshrimp, especially Southern ˈsrimp\
plural shrimp or shrimps

Definition of shrimp 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of numerous mostly small and marine decapod crustaceans (suborders Dendrobranchiata and Pleocyemata) having a slender elongated body, a compressed abdomen, and a long spiny rostrum and including some (especially family Penaeidae) that are commercially important as food also : a small crustacean (such as an amphipod or a branchiopod) resembling the true shrimp

2 usually disparaging : a very small or puny person or thing


shrimped; shrimping; shrimps

Definition of shrimp (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to fish for or catch shrimp

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Other Words from shrimp


shrimplike \ˈshrimp-​ˌlīk, ˈsrimp-​ \ adjective
shrimpy \ˈshrim-​pē, ˈsrim-​ \ adjective

Examples of shrimp in a Sentence


He's a little shrimp of a boy. the boy was just a shrimp until his teens, when he had a growth spurt

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Some of the largest estates in the region are owned by major figures in sports, finance and show business, who flee to the islands for peace and quiet as well as the saltwater fishing, shrimp boils, horse riding and hunting. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "The Secluded Island Hideaways for America’s Rich and Famous," 23 Aug. 2018 Sheet-Pan Shrimp Boil Making a shrimp boil doesn't get easier than this. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "Here's How to Pick the Best Corn on the Cob Every Single Time," 31 July 2018 July’s dinner begins with a pickled artichoke and heirloom melon salad, followed by a main course of red snapper and New England clam bake (lobster, mussels, scallops and shrimp). Jay Jones,, "Only on Sunday: In Las Vegas, here are three dishes you can't get any other day," 10 July 2018 The menu features scallops from Sonora, shrimp from Riviera Nayarit, molé from Oaxaca, sausage from Yucatan, as well as Zepeda-Wilkins’ favorite enchiladas and pozole dishes from her aunt’s restaurant in Guadalajara. Pam Kragen,, "'Top Chef' cook digs deep into Mexican cuisine at El Jardin," 5 July 2018 The seafood sensation is also a big hit, and includes a 6-ounce ahi tuna steak, two large sea scallops and two jumbo shrimp. Jane Donahue, Naperville Sun, "'On the rocks' takes on new meaning at Naperville grill," 27 June 2018 In 1974, Laitram marked its 25th anniversary with -- what else? -- a shrimp boil. Mike Scott,, "A business empire built on -- shrimp shells? Yep. Here's how.," 11 Mar. 2018 Sit down to a steaming serving of Frutti de Mare, a mixture of shrimp, scallops, mussels, scampi, calamari and half of a Maine Lobster sitting on a bed of pasta and bathed in a traditional white wine tomato sauce., "Escape winter with an evening in ‘Tuscany’," 15 Feb. 2018 Customers build their poke bowls ($8.50-$14.50) by selecting a base such as rice or greens and then adding a protein such raw tuna or salmon, cooked shrimp, scallops, chicken or tofu. Joey Morona,, "Corner 11 Bowl & Wrap bringing fast-casual Poke to Tremont," 13 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Fold in spinach and cook until just beginning to wilt and shrimp are opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes more. Redbook Test Kitchen, Redbook, "Garlicky Fiesta Shrimp," 20 Aug. 2018 The store's fishmongers can assist with anything from recipe suggestions to shrimp de-veining. Katherine Peralta, charlotteobserver, "Here's a sneak peek inside Whole Foods, uptown Charlotte's new grocery store," 11 June 2018 By the early eighties, drug dealers were transporting pot and cocaine on shrimping boats from South America to the islands east of Savannah, and officers on the drug task force were taking a cut. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "The Spy Who Came Home," 30 Apr. 2018 All the shellfish comes by the pound, so shrimp ends up giving you more edible fish than king crab legs ($35), for instance, because the latter’s shells are heavy. Joan Wilder,, "Where everybody has to put down the phone to eat," 27 Apr. 2018 Saturday's blessing of water vessels - a maritime tradition to mark the start of shrimping season - should be finished before the inclement weather makes it to the island, Barthelemy said. Littice Bacon-blood,, "Grand Isle Blessing of the Fleet Fest still on for Saturday," 13 Apr. 2018 Menu options range from their popular burgers to shrimp tacos and a pork and beans dish recommended for sharing. Tanya Wildt, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit women's convention: 14 restaurants you can walk to from Cobo," 25 Oct. 2017 These include Ann Sather cinnamon rolls, deep-dish pizza, and shrimp de jonghe. Aimee Levitt, Chicago Reader, "The Chicago Food Encyclopedia is an historical treat," 13 Sep. 2017 Recipe: Shrimp With Creamed Corn and Feta Follow NYT Food on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "Want to Make Creamed Corn Into a Meal? Add Shrimp," 18 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shrimp.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of shrimp


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1808, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shrimp


Middle English shrimpe; akin to Middle Low German schrempen to contract, wrinkle, Old Norse skorpna to shrivel up

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Statistics for shrimp

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shrimp

The first known use of shrimp was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for shrimp



English Language Learners Definition of shrimp

: a small shellfish that has a long body and legs and that is eaten as food

: a very small or unimportant person


\ˈshrimp \

Kids Definition of shrimp

1 : a small shellfish of the sea that is related to the crabs and lobsters and is often used for food

2 : a very small or unimportant person or thing

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